TSGS Cruiser Blog

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Indiana State Fair 4-H Genealogy Project Judging

Judging Exhibits at 4-H State Fair

I had the pleasure & honor to judge 4-H Genealogy notebook exhibits yesterday at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis, Indiana. this was my second year and it is so neat to see the best exhibits from a large portion of Indiana's 92 counties. Jean and I judged the Division 3 entries. There are five divisions with Division 5 being repeated each year. Division 5 asks for eventually attempting to complete 8 generations of the 4-H members ancestors... which would be 254 individuals plus the 4-H'er for total of 255.

The notebook I am judging in above photo is one of three notebooks. This notebook contained the generation charts, family group sheets & additional information sheets. The two other notebooks stacked in front of me contain required photo copies of birth, marriage & death records, along with some photos and other documents to support the research completed by the 4-H'er. There are military, educational, occupational & church records included in addition to obituaries and other newspaper articles & photos of US Federal Census sheets and War Draft records. These exhibits are incredible compilations of research done by these kids and their family. This ends up being a family project including aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, grandparents & others. TSGS has had many of these notebooks from the Vanderburgh County 4-H Fairs on display at our Christmas events over the last 25+ years.

Above is a photo of several of us working on judging these notebooks... Becky West is to my right with the two ladies across from me at the table (judging Division 4 exhibits). The young lady standing at the file box is in charge of the Genealogy Project for the State Fair... behind her and only barely visible are three Division 5 (Advanced) judges. Not shown (further to my right) were four more ladies judging divisions 1 & 2.
Becky came along to keep company for the 3.5 hour trip from Evansville to Indy. I needed to be there at 9 AM their time (8:00 Evansville time). Allowing an extra half hour for a break and maybe delays in driving, I always leave 4 hours before arrival time. We had to leave at 4 AM Evansville time. We got up at 2:30 AM to get ready (and for me to get enough coffee into my body). We got to the registration table at 8:40 their time. I also entered two poster exhibits that were not sent by the County 4-H Office the day before. We took about a 45 minute break eating at the Farm Bureau Building (great lunch!). And then right back into judging... we were all done about 5 PM (Indy time) - this was essentially an 8 hour day. It was a lot of work... but is also fun, interesting and educational for us judges. One of the other judges & I may have a distant family relationship that we will be checking. We got home a little before 9 PM - a very long, but worthwhile day!
- Submitted by JGWest


Davied Engelking said...

Did you judige this year 2015. My son was cheated out of the ribbon he should have got because the judiges are not keeping up with the rules. Rules were cnanged 3 years ago.
In the advance class you do not bring all the note books back, only this year work. You do not need all the pedigree charts, family group sheet. ect. My son tool a line back to the 1500. and was given a red ribbon, because he did not include his pedigree charts from the past. He is in advance and did not need to enclude them, they did not have anything to do with this year project. So if you are a judge in Genealogy study up on the ruels and quite cheeting kids out of their ribbons.

TSGS said...

Davied Engelking : I am sorry about your son's experience at the State Judging of the Genealogy exhibits. I judged exhibits for seven years on the state level and for over 25 years on the county level. The last few years I have not judged on any level. I have 3 sons that spent 10 years in 4-H and the Genealogy project. It is frustrating when the exhibit gets a lower ribbon than expected after all of the hard work that was put into the project. I spent 10 years as a 4-H member and was often disappointed because I got a white or red ribbon, but I assure you that I did not enroll into the project to get a blue ribbon or higher. I took the project because I was interested in it with the hope of learning something or have fun doing the exhibit. I know that often times county rules and state rules are not always the same. For the State Fair you need to use the State rules which should be the same that the county is using. I always studied the rules very thoroughly before judging exhibits and have always been amazed at how many of the exhibits do not follow the rules. I always judged with the idea of giving the exhibit the best ribbon that I could based only on what was required, but it would not be of value to the 4-H'er to "gift" them with a better ribbon than the exhibit deserved. I would not take off much for spelling errors, but if he had a sentence like your last sentence in your email, I would mention it on the score sheet. Focus on why your son took the exhibit, not on the ribbon the exhibit got at the State Fair. It got a champion ribbon at the county and managed to get a red ribbon at the state. However, the important thing is that your son managed to research and document one line all the way back to 1500. That is what really matters and will be more important than getting any ribbon at the State Fair in the future. I managed to get a few blue, red & white ribbons at the State Fair... I could not tell you today which exhibit got what ribbon, but I remember that I had some exhibits at the Indiana State Fair. That is what seems most important to me today. Oh, and I learned a lot from all of the projects I completed!